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Diamondbacks 5, Giants 0 - Cometh the hour...

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Record: 85-67. Change on last season: +13. Pace: 91-71
Playoff odds: 82.6%. Playoff Magic Number: 9

Quote of the day: "That's how we roll. I've preached it from the third month on. It doesn't matter - if we get down, we come back. We're ahead, we keep it. We just get those big hits in big situations. That whole batting average stat doesn't really mean anything. It's all about the 'W'." -- Conor Jackson

Anybody, anytime. Based on the past couple of starts, you would not have expected Micah Owings to throw a complete-game shutout. Yet, 28 batters, two hits and one walk later [there were two double-plays, in case you were wondering about the math], he's posted the eleventh two-or-less-hitter in franchise history - our first pitcher not named Webb, Johnson or Schilling with one. At ten days short of his 25th birthday, he's also the fourth-youngest starter in the majors to do so this year, behind the one-hitter of Felix Hernandez (21 years, 3 days), and the no-hitters by Verlander (24/112) and Buchholz (23/18).

Really, after Monday's fiasco, this is what we needed. Just as nice as the shutout, was the offense leaping all over Sanchez, scoring four runs on five hits and two walks - the Giants starter only retired one batter, since Young and Callaspo both ran into outs between second and third. That got the win probability up to 83.9% by the end of the first, and it never went below that the rest of the way. While the offense went a bit quiet after that - five hits, no walks and just one run over the next seven innings - it was good to have a relatively Maalox-free night.

After walking Dave Roberts - later erased on a double-play - to lead off the game, Owings was almost impeccable. He seemed, if anything, to get stronger as the night went on, retiring the final thirteen hitters in order. It took him only 27 pitches to get through the last three innings, and he finished on an exclamation point, fanning pinch-hitter Ray Durham for the final out. Some discussion on the Gameday Thread as to whether he should have been left out there, but as Owings only threw 101 pitches, I don't have a problem with that.

Every starter had a hit bar Upton - and including Owings, who doubled, raising his average to .291. I think he should probably be hitting above Callaspo and Ojeda when he pitches. Mark Reynolds had two hits, including his 15th homer of the season, another tape-measure shot estimated at 452 feet, into the second deck down the left-field line - a surprise souvenir for the family there! Chris Young also had two doubles, but gets severe demerits for dogging the first one out of the box, thinking it was foul, then trying to make it to third and getting thrown out. He was also caught trying to steal third, so a bad night on the basepaths all round for him.

With the Padres and Phillies both winning - though it took the latter quite some time to do so - no effective change there. However, the Dodgers dropping both end of a double-header to the Rockies is probably the nail in their coffin, sending them 4.5 back of the wild-card leading Padres, with only eleven to play. Another loss today, and they'll have nothing to play for over the weekend here in Phoenix. Which works for me, not least if the only post-season action Gonzo sees is on TBS.

Lengthy Gameday Thread, which rumbled on for quite some time after it, discussing the Complete Game and its importance, or lack thereof. Good stuff. Present were snakecharmer, Devin, cj060896, DiamondbacksWIn, hotclaws, LucaMaz3, Pigpen Fan (welcome!), DbacksSkins, Wimb, suitsmetoATnT, andrewinnewyork, dahlian, Adam, TwinnerA, Stile4aly, VIII and soco. Think I got everyone? Anyway, gotta dash: I've got three hours of training classes today, and while I'm a big fan of knowledge, it gets in the way of all the other stuff. :-)

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Micah Owings, +26.7%
God-emperor of suck: Eric Byrnes, -4.6%
Honorary quite goodness: Chris Snyder, +12.9%

Pardon me, while I resist the urge to pop round Dan Bickley's house and smack him silly. snakecharmer has already pointed out his painfully obvious and patronizing little article in the Republic this morning, D-Backs deserve appreciation, not boos. Inspired by the reception afforded to Tony Peña during and after his performance, it finishes with a fine bout of sanctimonious preaching, "When things do go wrong, remember that this team deserves a little more help and a few less jeers." Mad as hell, I posted the following response:

"I suppose Peña should have been warmly applauded off the mound, for his fine performance in giving up five runs in 17 pitches. Well done, Tony! Good job! Thanks for shoving a spoke in our playoff wheel! You rock! No: as someone who has probably been to more D-backs games this year than Mr. Bickley, this was a performance, both by the pitcher and the manager, worthy of every raspberry. Maybe the next time a reliever hits a batter with the first pitch, then walks the next guy on four straight balls, Bob Melvin might hear the echoes."